My daughter, Kathy, was catching bass and landing them by grasping their lower jaw. Now, she knelt down and was waiting for my friend Ed’s daughter to bring in an 18-inch fish to where it could be reached.
Every time it was nearly in, it would head for the middle of the pond. Finally, the young girl worked it into the shore.
Kathy, carefully avoiding the sharp hooks of the Hot & Tot, grabbed the fish by the lower jaw and lifted it onto land.
The fish measured slightly over 18 inches and was the best the girl had ever caught.
Kathy could fish. At 10, she caught a high number of trout and didn’t need any help from dad. She would also go with me to visit a farm pond or two. She would come home from school and raise her voice, “Hey dad, let’s go down to Jimmy’s to fish.”
In the summer, our bass fishing grew in popularity. I think we fished most of the farm ponds in Washington County and caught them from eight to 24 inches.
I don’t consider largemouths to be very good to eat, so we had no trouble releasing even the biggest. However, hooking and landing panfish over nine inches was a different story.
Few, if any, fish are as good to eat as bluegill.
Almost all of our bass were caught on purple plastic worms. The rig was simple. We would put a No. 4 hook at the end and a split shot about a foot up the line. You want the lure to bounce along the bottom.
The retrieve should be slow, and to emphasize, I would tell beginners to go slow and then slow down some more.
The hook must be set hard through a couple of layers of plastic worm that is balled up in the mouth of a fish. In fact, if the pond has big bass, it doesn’t hurt to set the hook twice.
Like many, I like to fish, but also tend to procrastinate.
John Dino called this week to ask me to go bass fishing. It was a good idea, except I needed to go to work if I was to meet him. My favorite rod is set up for trout. I should have changed the line a couple of weeks ago.
A heavier line is needed for bass. It’s not that they fight harder than trout, but they do average a couple of pounds of fighting fish.
Not only that, but they often come to shore through weed beds and you might land two pounds of bass and five pounds of weeds.
The water weeds are the real problem when fishing with four-pound line.
When fishing for bass, make sure you bring along some spinnerbaits. The hardest thing about fishing with plastic worms is the slowness of the retrieve. It’s a bit boring.
It’s just the opposite with a spinner. What the bass think these goofy looking lures are exactly is a mystery. But they do work and probably result in a heavier stringer of bass than any other lure.
When I’m trout fishing, I like a lighter rod about seven feet in length with four-pound line.
But for bass fishing, I want a stiffer rod. With the right equipment, farm ponds and places such as Cross Creek Lake will yield some big bass.
Just approach the owner and ask permission. And for goodness sakes, don’t litter.
George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.